Our Bible verse for today: “They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. They do everything to be seen by others …” Matthew 23:4-5 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t be side-tracked by the hypocrites”
Recently there was a news report about a major international conference on climate change and environmental issues. It was held in Europe and was attended by high profile politicians, celebrities, and environmental activists from around the world, but only those from the political left. Conservatives were not invited.
What was especially interesting about this conference on environmental concerns was that those very wealthy elites traveled to the conference in private jets. Once they were there, they stayed in penthouse hotel suites and even on luxury yachts. Huge sums of money were spent on lavish meals, and quite a few kilowatt hours of electricity were expended lighting huge banquet halls. Evidently those environmental leaders, who are determined to get the rest of us to conserve resources so we can save the planet, aren’t very thrifty consumers of resources in their own lives.
There’s another high-profile environmental activist (a former politician who lives here in Tennessee), who is very outspoken about environmental issues. He writes books, produces documentaries, and speaks at conferences urging the rest of us to be frugal and to conserve. He himself however, lives in a large mansion on an estate outside of Nashville with his wife. The house is probably twenty times bigger than just two people should need. One investigative report discovered that this man’s indoor heated pool by itself uses more energy each year than six average homes combined. Just the pool! According to the report his total electric use in one year is more than the average home uses in 21 years.
In Matthew 23:4-5 Jesus was being critical of religious hypocrites. They were leaders who promoted the basic law of Moses (which was good) but they also added lots of additional rules and requirements that they had created for people to follow (which was bad). And worse, those leaders didn’t even practice what they preached. They were hypocrites.
But Jesus told the people not to be side-tracked by the hypocrisy of the leaders. Even though the leaders themselves were not practicing what they preached, and even though the extremes of their teaching were ridiculous and not helpful, Jesus cautioned the people not to lose sight of the basic principles the Law of Moses, which they did need to follow.
The same lesson applies to us with respect to environmental issues. Many of the liberal environmental leaders are very hypocritical. What they propose is often extreme, and they don’t practice what they preach. But that should not side-track the rest of us from being good stewards of God’s creation and of energy resources.
In the next devotional we’re going to consider the truth that not only did God give us creation as a gift, He also gave us creation’s resources as a gift as well. Therefore, we’re free to use those resources (such as oil and coal), and God expects us to. That’s why He gave them to us. We just need to do so in as responsible a manner as possible. We’ll begin that discussion tomorrow.